A tornado of about 20-meter diameter hit Calayugan Norte and Calayugan Sur barangays of Sandingan Island, Loon noontime Saturday last week, but Governor Erico Aumentado learned about it four days after.
The incident showed the weak link of disaster coordinating councils that are supposedly established in localities down to the barangays. Officials of the two affected areas reportedly failed to immediately report the tornado hit to the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC).
Instead, the report found its way in the Internet, through the electronic mail.
Dr. Pepe Recitas, founder of the Home Reach Foundation and a Loonanon now based in New York, USA received the information and immediately relayed the same to the governor. Upon receipt of the information, the governor mobilized the provincial governmentâ€™s Quick Response Team for a relief operation in the calamity-stricken area.
As of yesterday, 32 residents of barangays Calayugan Norte and 11 in Calayugan Sur were reported having blown- off roofs, damaged pumpboats and countless farm crops and mango trees uprooted.
Of the victims, three lost both the roofs and walls of their houses, five lost nipa kitchen roofs, one family lost both the roof and the sala portion of their house, one lost kitchen roof made of G.I. sheet, and one electrical meter was blown away. Five houses were totally damaged, two of which were already abandoned. The purok center of Purok 3 and the waiting shed by the seaside was also in total wreckage. That is in Purok 3 and Purok 4 of Calayugan Norte.
Calayugan Norte Barangay Captain Tomas MaraÃ±on said they first noticed some streaks of lightning and thunder and then the tornado swept their village. Then, as the whirlwind was leaving, rains poured drenching residents who scampered not knowing where to find shelter.
Power supply were cut off in five houses, but were reconnected by Boheco the following day.
The Quick Response Team led by PDCC Executive Officer Raul Mendez immediately motored to Sandingan island together with BPRMO Area Coordinator Rolando Paloso, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Constancia TuÃ±acao, and Assistant Provincial Treasurer Primitiva Ontong, who is also the executive assistant on fiscal management, and the team from the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Tagbilaran chapter led by its administrator, Rita Requeron.
The national office of the DSWD, who learned of the incident earlier from news abroad, instructed Didin Bustrillos, team leader of the Bohol Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) team, to augment what the provincial government could provide.
The team brought a total of 30 sacks of rice- -10 sacks from PNRC, 10 sacks from the OPSWD and another 10 sacks from DSWD-national.
The PNRC distributed packs of six kilos of rice and noodles to victims, while the DSWD-national and the OPSWD each gave 10 kilos of rice for each of the victims whose houses were totally damaged, and five kilos of rice for each of those whose houses were partially damaged.
Loon Mayor Cesar Tomas â€œYulâ€ Lopez, for his part, committed to help the victims rebuild their houses, through the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council which initially distributed 100 GI sheets and 1,000 pieces of nipa shingles.
The incident calls for a re-orientation to re-orient barangay disaster coordinating councils, who to contact in times of emergency.
Barangay folks reportedly hesitated to ask help from the provincial government considering that their town is an â€˜opposition countryâ€™ being the town of Aumentadoâ€™s political nemesis, the former governor Rene Relampagos.
But social officer TuÃ±acao said the victims should have not hesitated to seek assistance immediately after the incident since the OPSWD is open for anybody even on weekends, considering the nature of their duty.
The PNRC-Tagbilaran administrator also advised barangay officials to be aware of the existence of the barangay disaster team charged to coordinate with the Red Cross office and the disaster coordinating councils in times of such calamities.
Just barely five months ago, a diarrhea outbreak hit this town. More than 200 were hospitalized and 5 confirmed dead from e.colai (diarrhea) bacterial infection. (With reports from Angeline Valencia)
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